Com, cooked crocodile, fried rice, pickled persimmons… are typical dishes that just heard the name and saw the whole autumn of Hanoi.
Hanoi is in the most beautiful days of the year. The weather is cool and sunny, suitable for walking, sightseeing, and outdoor photography. Not only the scent of milk flowers, the weather will be sere, Hanoi autumn also brings memorable gifts. In which, green nuggets, ripe crocodiles, fried spring rolls, pickled persimmons… are dishes that diners can easily find and enjoy when coming to Hanoi on autumn days.
Pickled persimmons can be considered as one of the most representative gifts. In fact, pickled persimmons are not grown in Hanoi, but in a few northern provinces such as Cao Bang, Lang Son, Lao Cai… but every autumn, everywhere in the capital, this fruit is sold. Pickled persimmon “right” must be a fruit that is still hard, yellow-green, slightly long, seedless, delicious to eat when really ripe and must be soaked in water to be eaten.
From September, when the summer sun eases, Hanoians begin to harvest and process nuggets . This is also the time when street vendors selling nuggets appear on the streets of Hanoi. Autumn gifts are carefully wrapped in lotus leaves.
Along with fresh nuggets, other dishes made from nuggets such as spring rolls, com, sticky rice, etc. are also the flavors of autumn. Green nuggets are often eaten with ripe bananas. Enjoying nuggets is considered an elegant way of welcoming the autumn of Hanoians.
Talking about Hanoi’s autumn cuisine, it is impossible not to mention ripe crocodiles . Ripe crocodile fruits appear on the street vendors in the Old Quarter in late summer and early autumn. If the sour green crocodile is used to cook soup and braise duck, the ripe yellow crocodile has a mild sweet taste, becoming a snack of diners.
The most popular dish from the ripe autumn crocodile is pickled crocodile, or more simply, many people enjoy the cooked, peeled and salted crocodile without processing. The sour and sour taste on the tip of the tongue is what many people remember when remembering the autumn of Hanoi.
Worm is a species that lives in water, with a high protein content. Ruoi is processed into many different dishes, in which, Cha Ruoi is the most popular in Hanoi. Cha Ruoi is made from mixed minced meat, eggs, tangerine peel, dill and then deep fried. Cha Ruoi is served with vermicelli, raw vegetables, sweet and sour sauce.
In Hanoi, Cha Ruoi is sold all year round, but it is sold from September to November of the lunar calendar which is considered by many gourmets to be the most delicious because this is the breeding season. After that, it is usually refrigerated to eat gradually. Diners can find delicious grilled pork rolls at O Quan Chuong, Lo Duc, and Hang Be markets…
Besides the dishes mentioned above, there are dishes that are available all year round, but when the wind is cold, Hanoians will immediately think of them. Hot boiled snail is one of them.
Sitting on the sidewalk next to a bowl of hot, steaming snails is the way many people choose to feel the autumn atmosphere and watch the old town life. Hanoi hot snails are different from other types of snails in Saigon because of the simple and unfussy way of processing. Snails are boiled with lemongrass ginger and lemon leaves, so they have a special aroma. The cooking method makes the snails keep a sweet and crispy taste. The snail dipping sauce is mixed with chili, ginger. This is also the ingredient that makes many diners flutter.
Rib cartilage porridge is also a dish that many diners enjoy when walking around the old town, of Dong Xuan market… Rib porridge is pureed like a powder, smooth and flexible. Cartilage ribs are cooked and added to white porridge. Besides, porridge is served with quails and shrimps to add more flavor.
Egg coffee is a favorite choice for autumn conversations and meetings. The greasy taste of eggs mixed with the warm, aromatic coffee flavor creates a typical Hanoi drink. Enjoying egg coffee in an ancient coffee corner, reading a book or watching the flow of people on the street will make your autumn more complete.
photo: Xuan Phuong
Keyword: The gifts of autumn in Hanoi